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Why Wales dumped Lions flyer Louis Rees-Zammit

By Ian Cameron
Cheslin Kolbe pulled to the ground by Louis Rees-Zammit (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has explained the shock dumping of British & Irish Lions flyer Louis Rees-Zammit. The stunning decision was leaked earlier this week and today confirmed by the WRU as Wales named their team for their crunch Guinness Six Nations clash with England in Twickenham.

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Rees-Zammit is replaced by a fit-again Josh Adams, with veteran Alex Cuthbert retained on the other wing, with Rees-Zammit released back to Gloucester ahead of their Gallagher Premiership showdown with Leicester Tigers.

“It was a tough call for Louis to take, obviously,” admitted Pivac. “Everybody wants to be selected and are working pretty hard. For us, with this particular match, looking at the opposition and the way we think the game will be played, I think the experience of the other two, work-rate off the ball and those sorts of things, are really going to come into play.

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“It’s a tough call on Louis but one that we think is the right call. He’s no different to any other player. He’s disappointed, obviously.

“He’ll be frustrated but I think if you look back to the first Six Nations, he didn’t get any game time, he went away, listened to what the coaches had passed on, worked hard and then had a very successful Six Nations last year.

“We expect him to go and work hard on his game and come back stronger than he is.”

Rees-Zammit is one of the most exciting players in European rugby, scoring four tries during last season’s Six Nations and being picked for the British and Irish Lions’ South Africa tour.

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“It’s a challenge for any player. It’s how you react to these situations. Louis, after being disappointed, is in a good environment with a very good club coach, who we’ve had a good conversation with.

“He will pass on the words and encouragement that are required. I’m sure Louis will come back bigger, better and stronger.”

The 21-year-old has carved out a reputation for scoring dazzling solo tries, which he underlined with a breathtaking touchdown against Fiji during this season’s Autumn Nations Series.

Players with English clubs are released back to them if they are not involved in a Wales match-day 23.

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Wales: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar (captain), Tomos Williams; Taulupe Faletau, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty, Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Wyn J ones.

Reserves: Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Jac Morgan, Kieran Hardy, Gareth Anscombe, Jonathan Davies.

– additional reporting PA

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